Here are ten of the best small electric cars to buy in 2021
From Honda e to Fiat 500, Mini to BMW i3 and Citroen Ami to Vauxhall Mokka-e, these are our favourite little EVs
“The Renault Zoe is Europe’s best-selling electric car thus far. It’s hugely popular – and with good reason. Whether that’s enough to sway you from newer, more style-led options is up to you. Even Renault itself has a rival (or perhaps replacement) on the horizon in the shape of its retro regen 5. Whatever the future for the Zoe, it’s place in the electric hall of fame is already assured. Mainstream EVs get no more trustworthy.”Advertisement - Page continues below
“It’s the Urban EV Concept that became a legend, the legend that became a prototype and the prototype that became the dinkiest, most desirable car since the Suzuki Jimny. It’s the Honda e, Honda’s first mass-market, pure-electric car and we want one.
“A range of 137 miles means you won’t want to stray too far from town, but a choice of 134bhp and 152bhp versions, a chassis that’s been shown some of Honda’s handling love and a configurable driving experience mean it’s not out of its depth if you fancy a ‘proper’ drive… and have the battery to spare.”
“The 500 is small, but if you don’t need space it could be your only car. That’s because it’ll go far enough on a charge to make motorway trips tenable. Whereas the Honda e or Mini Electric would have to be second cars to anyone who ever drives beyond conurbations rather than just within them.
“It’s not as fun to drive as those are, mind. It’s trying harder to feel normal. With a stylish, recognisable design and a quality feel. So the recipe’s been re-cast for health and welfare, but it still looks and tastes like la cucina della nonna.”Advertisement - Page continues below
“The i3 eggs you on to drive it quickly. A huge, McLaren-esque fishbowl windscreen gives you a commanding view of the road ahead, with a simple digital speedometer punctuating the bottom of it to ensure your attention is never split between several places at once.
“Naturally your electric range will be zapped in the process, mind. BMW claims around 160 miles in the real world but it’ll drop at a stark rate if you’re driving hard. Especially uphill. But this remains the best premium small EV on sale, even nearly a decade from launch.”
“We’ve always championed the weight-saving, space-giving packaging of the BMW i3, but it’s not been the sales dead-cert the investment required, so now it’s over to Mini to see if the conventional approach can do the numbers.
“It proves that the hot hatch will have a future as an EV. And it reinforces something we learned with the VW e-Golf – that an electric car doesn’t have to be wantonly radical to be a success. Stuffing a car we already know and like with batteries can, with the correct execution, be a good tactic.”
“This is not a car for zero-emission virtue signallers. It looks like a regular 208. It is a regular 208.
“In the old days you chose a car then decided what sort of engine and transmission to get. With the 208, in addition to diesel or petrol, manual or auto, there's also electric. So the e-208 can appeal both to people who primarily want a 208 then opt for that powertrain. And to people who primarily want an electric car and then opt for an e-208.”
“Vauxhall’s relationship with Peugeot means the Corsa-e is essentially a Griffin-badged 208. But that’s not necessarily the one you want.
“The sharply styled new Mokka hits the mark in a way that the smaller Corsa (not to mention the Crossland) misses, those cars slipping indistinctly into the mire and failing to offer a proper USP. Brave styling, the eye-catching option of electric drive and a refreshingly easy-to-operate cabin that doesn’t overwhelm with tech are all mega ticks in the Mokka’s favour.”Advertisement - Page continues below
Skoda Citigo IV
“The VW Group’s triplet of tiny hatchbacks – the near-identical Volkswagen Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo – have got with the times. Now only the VW – traditionally the most expensive and indeed best of the three – is available with an internal combustion engine.
“With the other two it’s electric or nowt, as Seat and Skoda race to cut average CO2 emissions in the face of tough new EU rules. Obviously the Skoda is the cheapest, available in a bare-bones SE spec the others aren’t.”
Kia Soul EV
“Almost everyone who bought the last Kia Soul got the one with an actual engine. Until, that is, the last year it was on sale, when Kia sold more Soul EVs in Europe than it did petrol and diesel ones combined. So while elsewhere in the world the Soul is still available with a normal petrol engine, in Europe it’s electric only.
“It’s a very good car, the Soul EV. And now it has a useful 280 miles of range thanks to the impressive drivetrain it shares with the Hyundai Kona and Kia e-Niro, we don’t think Brits will miss the petrol model all that much.”Advertisement - Page continues below
“The Ami is a rubbish car, but an entirely loveable object. It’s not fun to drive, but it is fun to use. In a city, at least. There’s a joy in it’s simplicity, in the way that it’s been designed, in the way that Citroen is embracing quirkiness.
“It’s not sophisticated or ground-breaking, but it is fun and interesting, and if it convinced a few Londoners to commute in one rather than a mostly-idling petrol or diesel SUV, then its a good thing.”